UPDATE 1-One dead, dozens hurt in tour bus crashes in rainy California

Thu Dec 19, 2013 9:32pm EST

(Updates to show both crashes involved tour buses, adds details on crash)

LOS ANGELES Dec 19 (Reuters) - At least one person was killed and dozens were hurt on Thursday in two separate casino tour bus crashes on a rain-slicked Southern California highway, California Highway Patrol officers said.

A bus heading for the Valley View Casino north of San Diego overturned near the community of Fallbrook at about 2:30 p.m., killing one person and injuring more than 20 other passengers, California Highway Patrol Officer Jim Bettencourt said.

He said all the bus passengers, who were in their 40s to 60s, were taken to local hospitals with injuries ranging from minor to serious. Investigators had interviewed the 56-year-old driver, and the cause of the wreck was under investigation. The bus was being operated by Five Star Charter.

In the second incident, all 30 passengers on board a tour bus traveling northbound on the same highway were hurt when it spun out near Corona, officer Travis Monks said.

Monks said most of the passengers had minor injuries but several were taken to area hospitals with moderate injuries. The bus, owned by Sina Coach Tours, was traveling to Orange County from a San Diego-area casino, he said.

Monks said the cause of the crash was under investigation but that rain might be a factor.

"When it's raining out here, drivers always need to be a little more cautious," he said, adding that the roadway was wet at the time of the accident. (Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Cynthia Johnston, Mohamad Zargham and Ken Wills)

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